Friday 7 December 2012

Turnips "Boulangere"

In our household whenever turnips are mentioned for some reason we seem to end up talking about Baldrick from "Blackadder". Do you remember the episode in which Blackadder's very straight-laced relatives come to visit and Baldrick serves them with a rather rudely-shaped root vegetable...?

Turnips are not a vegetable very much favoured in England. They are often confined in a derogatory way to the same category as parsnips and brussels sprouts - the vegetables that "everyone" hates. Not me. I like turnips, and if treated properly they are a very nice addition to the repertoire. For the last couple of weeks we have been getting a few of the purple-topped type in our weekly veg-box. We used some of them to make Turnips Boulangere - literally "Baker's Turnips"  - cooked slowly in stock.

We peeled and  sliced five smallish turnips and layered them in a Pyrex dish with a similarly peeled and sliced onion, and added about 500ml of vegetable stock and a good seasoning of salt and pepper. A few knobs of butter will help the top layer to brown-up, and add a generally savoury taste to the stock.

We then cooked the dish in a moderate oven (approx 160C) for about an hour and a half. And the end result looked like this:

Crispy on the top; soft and unctuous inside. Here's a tip: squashing the veggies down with the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes before the end of the cooking time, allows the buttery juice to cover the top layer and helps it to go brown without burning.

We were struck by just how sweet these turnips were, and this sweetness was accentuated by the other veg we served at the same time; roasted carrots, potatoes and a home-grown parsnip. I should perhaps also mention that all this lot was accompanying a roast chicken - and real gravy made with the meat juices. Jane really is the queen of gravy!

Meanwhile, in the garden....

The "Golden Ball" turnips in that plastic box are growing agonisingly slowly in the cold weather (getting literally frozen most nights at present), but I hope they will soon be of a useable size. I have promised myself to sow some a bit earlier next year!


  1. I think with turnips - size matters - not leaving them to grow too big.

    I love parsnips and sprouts too.

  2. I've never grown regular turnips. I've only grown the Japanese ones. And they are very delicious. Slightly sweet. They remind me a bit of mushrooms.

  3. I'e never bought or grown turnips, I think it's time I gave them a try.

  4. May be I would like them done this way - but as a general rule I don't like the taste of them. Although they do look lovely growing with the tinge of pink. I much prefer swede.

  5. I generally use turnips in soups, but your recipe sounds very promising; I'll get some when I go to the market next week and try them your way;

  6. Humble vegetables, simply prepared, are my favorites!

  7. Hi Kathy; Thanks for following. I'll take a look at your site and see if it is the sort of thing that appeals to me. I'm not a chicken-keeper person myself...


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